quinoa falafel halloween bento

7 10 2012

tomorrow’s lunch is a holiday-themed, healthy twist on a few dishes i love: falafel balls and greek rice. for my falafel, i used a mix from earthly choice brand, and added some middle-eastern flavor (cumin spice and smoked paprika).  the balls are baked instead of fried.  for the “rice,” i used powercakes’ rice-free recipe, pulsing raw cauliflower in the food processor with other raw vegetables and kalamata olives for the briny zing. a cute carved jack-o-pepper with a spider pick gives some halloween flair to the lunch.  click through for details.

Read the rest of this entry »





salmon yuzu rice bento

10 06 2012

a bento inspired by two dear friends i wish i saw more of — mira, with whom i had dinner at our fave edo sushi on friday night (providing salmon leftovers for the main dish here), and rupal, currently in shanghai but who left me this pretty bottled lemon drink which i knew i would use as a bento prop.

Read the rest of this entry »





mitsuwa bento

28 05 2012

my sweet husband surprised me last week with a new bento box (he saw it at a store when he was looking for something else).  wanting to use it, and finding ourselves with more time on our hands than usual due to the three-day weekend, we decided to take a trip to edgewater, nj to go to the fabulous mitsuwa marketplace — a veritable wonderland comprised of a full-sized japanese supermarket as well as a food court and a number of specialty shops and stands.  more on our trip, after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »





ruby stretching bento

15 05 2011

hey everybody, how are things in bento land?  the past couple weeks have been crazy for me — i got a sort of promotion (i think?) and have been traveling a lot more for work, which is wreaking havoc with my meal planning schedule.  then this past week i started feeling myself getting sick.  i tried to head that off at the pass, but i currently have a terrible case of laryngitis… i am mostly resting today, trying to get my voice back in time for an important meeting tomorrow.

i hope you all have been well, and i can’t wait to catch up on bento posts and tweets!

tomorrow is a day where i know i will actually be at my desk for lunch, so i layered some of my favorite spicy tofu from the korean market under brown-and-white rice sprinkled with furikake.  the back section has a tomato, steamed broccolini, some tangerine slices, two steamed brussels sprout halves, and a piece of simmered lotus root (also pre-prepared from the korean market).  for a sweet treat i have a cup of vanilla yogurt with kiwi.

on top of the rice is an egg sheet version of our dog, ruby.  whenever i put her harness on her to take her out for a walk, she does this leisurely stretch, with all four legs splayed out — so cute.  akinoichigo’s new book (which is now available on yesasia for free shipping to the US) has a similar pattern for a cat, and as soon as i saw it i knew i wanted to use it for silly ruby.

not sure when i’ll be bentoing again, so in case i’m not back here for a while, hope you all have a great week!





twin geese bento

24 04 2011

tomorrow’s lunch has two hanpen geese with egg sheet beaks and feet, nori eyes, and fish sausage cheeks.  they’re sitting on a bed of basmati rice sprinkled with furikake i received in a surprise package from a bento pal — it’s got a combination of sesame seeds, dehydrated green bell pepper, and yuzu, which gives it a very unique, tangy flavor.  i love it!

i punched some little clovers out of fish sausage, and the back portion of this box has steamed sweet potato and broccolini, a takuwan rosette with asparagus leaves, tiny red vine tomatoes, and a cheese flower.  i think i felt like using my goose-shaped cutter because the resulting geese look like they would lay nice fat easter eggs.  did everyone have a nice easter weekend?

don’t forget that the auction for the lovely hand-crafted crane earrings ends in a few hours — all proceeds are to benefit japan relief, so get your bid in while you can!





speedy bunny bento

20 04 2011

this speed-packed bento is my nod to easter… the “speedy” in the title refers both to the bunny and to the bento-making time!

it’s a simple meal in my trusty tiffin:  some bulldog-glazed veggie meatballs, japanese pickles, rice with scallions and peas, a few carrot flowers, and a sweet potato bunny.

no bento for me on friday, so this is my last reminder that the highly-sought-after bento play food set auction ends in just over a day… and then we’ll be in easter weekend.  wishing all my bento pals a wonderful holiday weekend with their families!





spring horsies bento

19 04 2011

tomorrow’s lunch has some curry rice with two hanpen horses, plus steamed broccoli, a tomato, steamed brussels sprout halves, and some juicy pieces of mochiko chicken.  i made a batch using a combination of both sheri and debra‘s helpful recipes; mine came out looking a little bit different (the batter consistency was so close to pancake batter that the outside of some of the pieces actually look like pancakes), but it was absolutely delicious.

my horsies have manes made from egg sheet that i had leftover from last night’s rilakkuma creation.  i cut a slit in the hanpen and inserted the base of the fringed egg sheet strip so that the mane looks like it’s “growing.”  cilantro sprig harnesses are a cool idea i borrowed from lucky sundae, and i put my own spin on akinoichigo’s saddle idea by using soy paper in which i hand cut little hearts.

have you bid on the awesome play bento set or the beautiful crane earrings, both auctions to benefit the japan relief effort?

and — i posted my lunch in “what’s for lunch wednesday,” did you?





flying rilakkuma bento

18 04 2011

tomorrow’s bread-free lunch is my take on soboro, mexican-style: a layer of spanish rice (cooked in my rice cooker with peas and corn), a layer of monterey jack cheese, and a layer of vegetarian ground beef sauteed with cumin.  plus a bunch of fresh fruits and veggies — cuke, yellow and red vine tomatoes, steamed broccoli, pea pods, a big fat strawberry, and a few tangerine sections.

the star of this lunch is rilakkuma, cut with an exacto knife from two colors of egg sheet.  i recently bought a package of onigiri cases with rilakkuma on them, and the package had two funny/cute rilakkuma designs:  in one he is flying with cooking utensils in his hands (this is what i reproduced for my bento, without the utensils), and in another he is totally relaxing (per his name!), with one arm leisurely propping up his head.

just a reminder: the fabulous play bento set — consisting of adorable, hand-crafted fabric food items traditionally found in a bento box — is still up for grabs on ebay.  the bento4japan charity auctions are winding down, but this item is like a grand finale!





totoro onigiri bento

13 04 2011

have you seen anna the red’s cool tutorial on inarizushi totoro-making?  she’s full of awesome ideas, and this one might take the cake.  i have never done a totoro before, and even though i didn’t have inari on hand, i was inspired to try my hand at our favorite neighbor.

my totoro is simplified — no arms, lower body, or whiskers.  but hopefully i’ve captured his essence, including his cheshire-like grin and slightly bugged-out eyes.  i mixed rice with ground black sesame to make the grey color of his coat, and added punched nori Vs from my emoticon puncher for his stomach markings.  the white part of his body is stuffed with a vegetarian meatball, left over from yesterday’s lunch.

the rest of tomorrow’s bento has steamed broccoli with fish sausage stars, tamagoyaki rolled with nori and topped with carrot stars, steamed brussels sprout halves, a few pieces of golden-fried tofu, and a nice vine tomato.  a tangerine for dessert, and i’m all set!





poodles in love bento

10 04 2011

tomorrow’s lunch has two poodles in love.  the poodles are cut with a fondant cutter from hanpen, which i was able to find at my japanese grocer.  the poodles are set on a bed of rice mixed with the very last of my hana osushi no moto… for some reason i can’t find that product anywhere!  if you know of an online source for it, please share in the comments!

the rest of my lunch has some thai-basil mock duck, a steamed carrot slice, a few pieces of steamed broccoli, a few pea pods, a nice yellow tomato, half each of a strawberry and a steamed brussels sprouts, and some pretty purple japanese pickles.

have a happy start to your week, and don’t forget, the auction for the cute shinzi katoh box ends early tomorrow morning, but there are lots of other cute boxes to bid on for charity!